Another year has come and gone, and for most of us the season is over just like that. Your emotions are most likely all over the place - proud of yourself for pushing to the brink each week, disappointed in a select workout or two, disappointment over a weakness you thought you'd do better with, excitement for getting your first Muscle-up or Handstand Push-up. Whatever is going through your head, we can listen to it, harness it, and learn from it.
Were you happy when it was over?
Step 1: Review
Go through each Open workout, week by week. If you have videos, watch them and see what stands out to you. Was it a particular movement you struggled with? Or maybe your aerobic capacity (week 1) wasn't as good as your anaerobic capacity (week 2). If you watch your videos, note your splits per rounds and see if anything glaring sticks out. If your final couple rounds are either significantly slower or faster than the rest of your time, then its possible you're pacing needs some work.
I like to have my athletes jot down the top weakness in each workout, whether its a physical hindrance (overall strength, capacity or technique) or mindset hindrance (pacing, confidence, or killer mindset to finish a workout). Once we have 5 weaknesses, we talk about them, see what the root issue is, and then make a plan of attack for the following year.
Step 2: Plan
When reviewing the weaknesses from step 1, make sure to find any overarching themes - these will provide the biggest bang for your buck. If an athlete struggled with T2B, Ring Muscle-ups and C2B Pull-ups, chances are there is a common thread that will help improve all three instead of focusing on each individually. The best fix could be improving body composition (reducing body fat %) which will make all three easier.
The goal in this step is to boil the 5 weaknesses from step 1 down into 3 major goals for the year. These 3 goals should be the three things that will improve an athlete THE MOST. For example, a goal of improving movement efficiency across all movements will be more significant for most athletes than a goal of getting really good at HSPUs. Once an athlete has mastered most things (hint, they'd be top 100 in their region) then there is probably just one or two specific movements they can focus on.
Step 3: Execute
So you've reviewed your Open, noted the most significant issues from each workout and then identified what the most IMPORTANT things for you to work on over the next 12 months are. This step is the hard part - execute. Since the only person that can make this step happen is you, I won't get too deep into it. I will give some of my favorite strategies, however.
If one of your top 3 areas to improve is:
- Strength: Find a strength program and stick to it. The only way you'll get stronger is time and consistency. Please do not program hop, that won't help you here.
- Movement Efficiency: If technique and efficiency is one of your issues, then your real issue is probably that you compete every day instead of practice. If you want to improve your efficiency start practicing more, and once or twice per week slow down during your metcon so you can focus on perfect movement. If you try to put up the fastest time every single day you'll never improve here.
- Body Composition: Honestly probably the biggest thing for most people - if you are a male and you aren't 10-15% BF or a female and not 15-20% BF, this is low hanging fruit. Don't worry about "eating to perform" until you are at a body composition that supports competing.
- Mindset: This is a tricky one. You have to train yourself to be confident, to trust your gameplan for a workout, etc. I'm currently experimenting with different strategies here, so if you have a good one, please share with us!
Like we already mentioned, we really really hope you guys use your Open performances as a tool to learn and grow from. There is so much valuable information to be had from 5 weeks of competition and so much to learn from. Be smart and utilize it! Review, plan and execute - in a year you'll thank yourself!!